Weissbach, L.; Bussar-Maatz, R.; Löhrs, U.; Schubert, G. E.; Mann, K.; Hartmann, M.; Dieckmann, K. P.; Fassbinder, J.
Prognostic factors in seminomas with special respect to HCG: Results of a prospective multicenter study.
In: European Urology, No. 6: pp. 601-608
Objective: In a prospective multicenter trial, it was our intention to elucidate clinical prognostic factors of seminomas with special reference to the importance of human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) elevations in histologically pure seminomas. Methods: Together with 96 participating urological departments in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, we recruited 803 seminoma patients between 1986 and 1991. Out of 726 evaluable cases, 378 had elevated, while 348 had normal HCG values in the cubital vein. Histology was reviewed by two reference pathologists. HCG levels were determined in local laboratories and in a study laboratory. Standard therapy was defined as radiotherapy in stages I (30 Gy) and IIA/B (36 Gy) to the paraaortal and the ispilateral (stage I) and bilateral (stage IIA/B) iliac lymph nodes; higher stages received polychemotherapy and surgery in case of residual tumor masses. Statistics included chi-square tests, linear Cox regression, and log-rank test. Results: The HCG elevation is associated with a larger tumor mass (primary tumor and/or metastases). HCG-positive and HCG-negative seminomas had no different prognostic outcome after standard therapy. The overall relapse rate of 6% and the survival rate of 98% after 36 months (median) indicate an excellent prognosis. The calculation of the relative risk of developing a relapse discovered only stage of the disease and elevation of the lactate dehydrogenase concentration and its prolonged marker decay as independent prognostic factors for seminomas. A more detailed analysis of the prognostic significance of the stage revealed that the high relapse rate in stage IIB seminomas after radiotherapy (24%) is responsible for this result. Conclusions: We conclude that HCG-positive seminomas do not represent a special entity. Provided standard therapy is applied, HCG has no influence on the prognosis. Patients with stage IIB disease should be treated with chemotherapy because of the demonstrated higher relapse rate outside the retroperitoneum. Copyright (C) 1999 S. Karger AG. Basel.